KIM Jong-un applauded North Korea’s third hypersonic missile test as his almighty sister watched in the background.
Images released to state media showed the bully standing next to a screen as his sister Kim Yo-jong and officials applauded.
State media in the nuclear-weapon country said the missile flew 435 miles at an altitude of about 37 miles and reached a speed of Mach 10, or 7,672 mph.
The official KCNA news agency said the test demonstrated “the hypersonic glide vehicle’s superior handling” and claimed it hit a target some 620 miles away.
The 34-year-old Yo-jong’s presence is considered significant and a sign of his growing influence, reports NK News.
She began making her own public statements, including threatening the United States for organizing military exercises with South Korea.
The latest test comes after a precedent by North Korea earlier this week that ground planes in southern California.
“Everything about this test reminds us that North Korea is fully in a new campaign of military modernization,” said Ankit Panda of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Hypersonic missiles travel at speeds of at least Mach 5 – five times the speed of sound.
The technology consists of a gliding vehicle launched on a rocket up to about 40 miles, then detaching to head towards a target.
Unlike conventional ballistic missiles, when glider vehicles descend to earth they can be maneuvered at extreme speeds, making them difficult to intercept.
Russia and China are seen as the world leaders in hypersonic missiles, with the United States investing to catch up.
Hypersonic missiles are among the “priority” tasks for the development of strategic weapons in North Korea’s five-year plan.
After the launch, Kim said North Korea should “further accelerate its efforts to gradually strengthen the country’s strategic military power in quality and quantity and further modernize the military.”
Leif-Eric Easley, professor at Ewha University in Seoul, said the weapon was not ready for deployment.
But he added, “Nonetheless, Pyongyang’s ability to threaten its neighbors continues to grow.”
Kim Yo-jong was born in September 1987, daughter of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il.
She is said to have had a close relationship with her brother Kim Jong-un from an early age.
Both studied together in Switzerland between 1996 and 2000, each dependent on the other for company and support during those isolated years.
It is believed that she continued her education at Kim Il-sung Military University, then computer science at Kim Il-sung University.
The tests come as North Korea has refused to respond to US calls for talks.
Dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang remains at a standstill and the country is subject to several rounds of international sanctions over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.